Products > Test Equipment

Does old test equipment really ever become truly obsolete?

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I was thinking about how even old oscilloscopes and other equipment from the 90s and even earlier are still used in labs today. And when you think about it, for anything other than cases where you need high sample rates or very high bandwidths, there really isn't a time where older equipment can't still be used today for its intended purpose. It was just a thought i had but i was wondering if anybody else agrees

Sure it does. Imagine an old mainframe Communications analyzer, that doesn't support the currently used 4G/5G tech.
You can buy Bluetooth verifiers that don't support BLE for 1/50th the original price.
There are old test equipment that was running Windows XP, that is not compatible with IT policies and have to be replaced just because of that.
Portable spectrum analyzer, with dead battery, no replacement. Or simply worn out connectors.
Or stuff with consumables, that are cheaper to replace to a new unit, lower running cost.

Yeah you're right. i didn't think about it like that. I quess i was thinking more of like if the equipment still works as it should than for simple measurements its still useful. But yeah you're right there is a lot of equipment that will show its age if they are used today with all technology advancing  and stuff

Old scopes really are obsolete. Even if they still work and could be used the high power consumption and maybe fan noise can be a show stopper.
Similar, old tube based power supplies could well be obsolete - high power consumption and in addition often poor stability.
For private and only very occasional use it may still be acceptable, but than just the space can be an issue.
With some of the old equipment also the safety / EMI can be a show stopper - maybe OK for a museum, but nothing to really use anymore.

Running XP may still be acceptable, there can be things that are worse: I rememer an old instrument that needed an old PC with a standard ISA card - not sure if it would ran with DOS > 4.x. It was a real pain to get data off with a 5 1/4" floppy and a no longer supported early MO disc drive. I rememer a spectrometer that used the TRS80 computer with 8 inch floppy too.

Some equipment gets a rather long life for special uses though. I remember repairing an old tensile testing machine from the early 1940s in about 1998. A crazy mix of old and hacked together upgrades.

Yeah getting data off of the equipment is another thing i didn't think of. Even if an oscilloscope or something still works, it's not always easy to get data onto modern computers where everything is mostly usb and the equipment uses older connections


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